Before moving on to what happened next, there are a few things to cover. Here is an edited (left out some personal things and things that would identify friends) version of a journal I kept on Google docs:
2007-12-07 – I spoke to [a friend] after midnight on the train home from [another friend’s place] about his knowledge of history. In his opinion, about half of the founding fathers (mostly from the South) agree to fight England in order to hold on to their slaves. This echoes what [yet another friend] said, but is more generous (half instead of all), though [this friend] thinks the Constitution rather ambiguous talking about men created equal and giving slave owners extra 3 votes for every 5 slaves they own.
2007-12-10 – Met [best friend] at his studio and we started negotiating the process and he provided feedback on what he’s read so far. He has Batman in his head based on what I’ve written. I can see why, but to me, the Wisp is very different. Of course, there are many Batman’s, his tale retold in various ways. One that [best friend] mentioned was him as an old man (think Robin is Nightwing or whoever in those). We went to Buttermilk [bar]…
2007-12-11 – … Started reading Band of Brothers about the split in the American Revolutionary thinking (Jefferson vs. Hamilton) and Alan Moore’s Writing for Comics, which prompted me to create another document here that includes my feedback thoughts.
2007-12-13 – Checked the availability of TheWisp.com on Network Solutions’ WHOIS form. Turns out it is owned by a Brit (who hasn’t updated his page in over four years!) and expires tomorrow!!! Will wonders never cease?
2007-12-15 – [Best friend] had an excellent idea about Reginald Atwater being a lamplighter in NY back in the 1770’s. Allows him to move about at night and by putting out certain lights, his rebel bosses can signal him to come meet with them for his next mission.
2007-12-16 – Picked up two copies of Scott McCloud’s first two books on comics, Understanding Comics and Making Comics ([and an] extra set for [best friend]).
2007-12-23 – Picked up Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics, Eisner/Miller, a book of conversations between Will Eisner and Frank Miller, and The Guide to Writing for DC Comics. Eisner/Miller has proved to be an excellent overview of the history and business of the comic book industry. Also picked up another Joseph Ellis book on the Revolution.
2008-01-03 – Picked up issues 1 and 2 of The Cemetery Teens at Midtown Comics. These are essentially 8.5″ x 11″ pages, all black and white (except for #2’s cover). Cool that Midtown and other comic shops allow independent books like this!
2008-01-04 – Went back to Midtown Comics tonight and met one of the managers…. He mentioned two options: previews and consignment (skipping previews). I wondered what the hell he was talking about. Wonder how to find out? Maybe ask [someone].
2008-01-05 – Had a birthday get together with …. Spoke to [an artist friend] (after checking with [best friend] first) about doing some of the artwork. Estimate ten pages of work for [artist friend]. He is already doing another comic for some German company, so he’s concerned about time, but he is amenable to doing it. He said he would send along some sample contracts for us to modify for this.
2008-01-11 – Sent fax of mini-treatment to Smoke House. Clooney in Africa probably.
2008-01-13 – On the way to [a friend’s] around 1PM a black pickup truck with tinted windows, model Titan make Nissan, pretended to want to run me over at Prospect and 5th Avenue, NE corner. I stood there (like an idiot) staring down the driver (who I could not see from the front) and he swerved at the last second. Through the light coming from the other side of the driver window I could see he was on his cellphone. If it weren’t for the fact that there was a truck parked right next to me, I’d assume it was an accident. Also, on the way back home, there was a different black pickup truck with tinted windows, this one a model Chevy Intimidator (a limited run truck) parked alongside the check cashing place on the north side of Prospect Avenue on the east side of 4th Avenue. This one pulled away as I approached but I did manage to photo it before it left. [Note: photo appears to be lost] (2008/02/04 Update: In checking a photo time stamp, I see it was 8:26 PM according to my BlackBerry). Could be a coincidence, but I’ve never seen such trucks in this neighborhood before nor since.
[Some entries here about telling others about the story.]
2008-01-29 – Did a walking tour of the Financial District today, including Whitehall Street (location of the Fighting Cock Tavern, where the Great NY Fire of 1776 may have begun). Is essentially right across from Staten Island – not New Jersey – and is where the State Island Ferry dock is now. Saw lots of other cool buildings down there, Clinton Castle, Tri-? Church, Fraunces Tavern, India House and some others).
2008-01-31 – Went to the UN building to see Clooney. Missed him by a few minutes and waited outside to try to catch him leaving. No luck. So I faxed a new character synopsis and the first ten pages of the graphic novel script.
2008-02-01 – Union Fire Comics is incorporated!
2008-02-02 – Spoke with a guy named [some name]. He’s a moderate conservative who works in fashion as an IT consultant, working with scanning and microchips for tracking sales items. Tested out a few of the arguments that the comic makes on him. A few actually seemed to get through, though one conversation with someone seems unlikely to make a lasting change. In particular the idea that the police, firefighters, etc. work to protect property and the economy and therefore people who don’t want to pay taxes to protect their own stuff are foolish.
2008-02-04 – This one is very thin, but there was a white van, again tinted windows, outside all night across the street. Have pictures [note: lost!] and on top of the van was ‘18475’ for spotting from the sky. Saw someone in the passenger seat in front. Was a longish van, with four doors on the side and the typical double on the back.
On a totally unrelated topic, I want to make it clear to whomever might read this that I love life, I’ve never been happier in all my life. No matter if I were homeless, crippled, blind, friendless, etc. I would never, NEVER take my own life. If, by some chance, it appears I have done so, I didn’t. Look harder!
2008-02-21 – Lock to apartment door has become a problem. Possibly was tampered with or just wore out.
2008-02-22 – Lock was replaced by a local locksmith, arranged by [my partner]. They oddly put a screw plate on both the interior and exterior of the door. The exterior one may be faux-screws, but it doesn’t look like it. Assuming this is not an innocent accident, probably best to leave it lest someone do worse in order to get in. C’est la vie.
2008-02-26 – Read March 3rd, 2008 TIME article about George. Uncanny similarities continue (his traps and dislike of a certain “newsman” for one). Also watched Michael Clayton later in the evening.
2008-02-27 – Sent yet another fax to Smoke House, this time referencing Arthur in Michael Clayton and the TIME article. Also sent pages 11-25 of the graphic novel script. … I also acted like a teenager when discussing it with Dennis [O’Neil], and feel like a jackass for having done so.
2008-02-28 – Sent Dennis an email apologizing for acting “like a fanboy” …
2008-03-02 – Received a random phone call from an arabic speaker. Number was (210) [phone number], registered to an [Arabic name], [address], San Antonio TX 78217. Am assuming it was just a wrong number.
2008-03-12 – Sent fifth fax to Smoke House, this time part 2 (pp. 26-50) of the script.
2008-03-18 – Met Jeremy Scahill this evening at St. Ann’s Warehouse. He was quite friendly and interested in the project.
2008-03-22 – Hangup phone call at 11AMish ([phone number]). Outside on [nearby] Street, black sedan, tinted windows, two men on cell phone. Noticed me watching and got in their car and drove by the apartment. Noticed me with camera. License plate begins DKV-.
As you can see, the hangup phone call was what got me outside to see the men and the car on 22 March.
Working backwards, my partner and I went to an event at St. Ann’s Warehouse on the 18th. It was about ending the war in Iraq. Naomi Klein (author of The Shock Doctrine) was also there. I met Jeremy at the bar and told him very briefly about The Wisp. I don’t know if he was already in the neighborhood or moved in later.
As for the second paragraph under February 4th, I started realizing (and in fact, Scahill kind of confirmed this on an afternoon talk before the event at St. Ann’s) that the more you get the word out, the less likely, not more likely, that you will have an unfortunate “accident” . In context, a person in the audience asked him why Blackwater (or CIA, JSOC) hadn’t taken him out. He said it was “people like you.” In other words, attention normally makes for aversion towards black ops, or as I would put it later, cockroaches hate sunlight.
This would be the point of a lot of what I’d wind up doing after Squidgate. Near constantly I’d be given the unappealing choice of either doing nothing and something bad might, sometimes did, happen, or, making myself look foolish or insane. I usually chose the latter. Protect your reputation or fail to prevent the bullies from harming someone seemed like an easy choice.
However, I also wonder if that second paragraph isn’t the focus of my current problems. That seems to be their primary goal along side knocking me off balance emotionally. They want to prove that their methods work, so not having obliged them by going postal or jumping off of a high structure makes it appear as if there is still hope. Killing optimism, which really means demoralizing any resistance, is the purpose.
Take a look at who I’ve already met and had contact with. They are on the list of targets of this bloated, corrupt, tax dollar guzzling, monstrosity that really sort of defies a label. Is it the military industrial complex and its Stasi-like secret police force? Yes. Is it ALEC? Yes. Is it multinational banks who hold no loyalty to any nation? Yes. And more. Fascism is about as close to a single label as there can be.
Now back to your regularly scheduled chapter, 2008 and the election, and the approach to Squidgate.
1 Michael Hastings would become a great exception to this. More on that later.